Whilst Dignitas operates out of Nairobi, Kenya, and has a keen desire to be situated close to the communities we work with, a few members of the Dignitas family are situated in the USA.  This includes our Co-Founders, Tiffany Cheng Nyaggah and Bobby Lee, and other members of our US Board.

For the first time since taking on my role at Dignitas, I will be travelling to USA.  I have two big objectives for my trip.  First, to get to know our US Board members, including Bobby, the Co-Founder I’ve not yet had the privilege of meeting.  Secondly, to grow the network of people who are excited about the work that Dignitas is doing!

As you know, if you’re a keen reader of our blog, we celebrate ten years of Dignitas this year.  This has been a wonderful opportunity to reflect on where we have come from and what we have achieved so far, and an exciting time to look forward to the next ten years and beyond.

At the beginning of the year, we highlighted our strategy for 2018, in which we summarized in four overarching goals:

I am excited to report that we are making significant progress on these goals.  Our team has been through a rigorous program review that has guided our strategy to address each of these.

Grow – we have worked hard to ensure that the revised program design is scalable, identifying key areas of impact and seeking to craft these into a program that we can expand with relative ease across the country, and potentially beyond.

Influence – our new program has been designed to drive, and measure impact at the student level, making explicit the links between strong school leaders, equipped teachers and student learning.  We look forward to being able to speak more comprehensively to student impact.

Value – for our work to be impactful at scale, it must be affordable. Historically, our model has been very ‘high-touch’ and resource intensive.   I am really excited that, with the new program design, we hope to be able to drive significant impact, at scale, for approximately 10% of our historical programming costs (per child).

Engage – as we have reviewed our programming, we asked ourselves who the key change agents are.  Who do we need to engage to ensure we see impact on learning at the student level?  We’ve crafted pathways for School Leaders and Teacher Leaders, and continue to consider government officials at various levels too.

This is great progress, but we need a few more building blocks in place to make sure we can fully exploit these impressive gains!

Board of Directors – as I mentioned above, one of the main objectives for my upcoming trip is to meet with the US Board.  There are a few important things I am hoping we can work on together:

  • Reflect on our 10th anniversary and how best we might celebrate that with our friends and supporters in USA
  • Consider new board members who can offer new energy, expertise and networks to the work of Dignitas
  • Plan for the next 12-18 months, identifying priorities and activities

Secondly, I am really excited to meet with Dignitas partners and hopefully begin to build some new partnerships.  When we launched our strategy for 2018, I highlighted the need to innovate and collaborate.  We can only fully pursue our vision of all children thriving and succeeding, if we build strategic collaborations with others.

How can you help?

  • Do you know an awesome individual, who is passionate about education, and would be willing to invest time and energy in supporting Dignitas to drive impact at scale?
  • Do you know an organization interested in improving learning outcomes for students in East Africa, as a funder, or knowledge partner?

Finally, while I am there, I will be representing Dignitas in the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), and in the Agile Leaders of Learning Initiative (ALL-IN), both convened by the Qatar Foundation.  This is an exciting opportunity for Dignitas to be part of a global voice advocating for vulnerable children, and promoting the role of school leaders as key levers of change in the delivery of quality education.

All of this activity and progress continues to be driven by our vision statement; “We imagine a world where schools are a vibrant place for all children to develop the skills and strength of character to thrive and succeed.”

If you have ideas, would like to know more, or you would like to help us connect to some exciting individuals and organizations in USA in September, please do get in touch!

Contributor: Deborah Kimathi